Book Fair Reflects Cultural Maturity, Says Madani
Ali Al-Zahrani & Naif Al-Shehri, Arab News
RIYADH, 1 March 2007 â€” Minister of Culture and Information Iyad Madani inaugurated the Riyadh International Book Fair 2007 Tuesday evening. The 10-day event features over 200,000 books and hundreds of publishing houses from the Arab world.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by Prince Turki ibn Sultan, assistant minister of information, OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, representatives of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and many foreign dignitaries.
â€œThe organization of this event is just an example of cultural development the Kingdom has witnessed,â€ said Madani. â€œIn the past, the Saudi book was received with amazement due to its limited circulation,â€ he said….
The opening of the Riyadh Book Fair has gone off quietly. Last year’s fair—though not the opening—was disrupted by religious and social conservatives who shouted down a member of the Shoura Council who had tried to raise the issue of women’s driving during a Council session. Let’s see what happens during the rest of the fair.
It is noteworthy, though, that many books that had been kept out of the country through censorship are actually on sale at the fair.